Thursday, October 25, 2018

Ross Thomas

I've posted about Ross Thomas before. Yesterday at CrimeReads appeared "Ross Thomas: A Crime Reader's Guide," a good introduction to an author who never disappointed me. The opening paragraphs:
Nobody wrote scoundrels the way Ross Thomas could. His heroes all had checkered pasts, though often with a Bogartian streak that led them to do the right thing against their own self-interest. His villains were a spectacular assortment of con men, spies, shady politicians, corrupt cops, wheelers, dealers, fixers, and schemers. His complex plots often revolved around political intrigue and backroom chicanery leading to sudden violence, and featured double-, triple-, or quadruple-crosses, so much so that it might not be until the very end that you knew exactly who had done what to whom.

All of this, in a too-brief span from 1966 to 1994, was written with keen intelligence, sharp humor, and a brilliant gift for character, description, dialogue, and intimate observation. So good was he at all of the latter that Stephen King called him “the Jane Austen of political espionage.” His worldview was jaded, but to charges that he was overly cynical, Thomas only responded, “If there is a trace of cynicism in my books, it’s only based on reality. People are always saying, ‘Things can’t be as bad as you make them,’ and I say, ‘No, they’re worse.’” .... (more, including a list of "The Essential Thomas")